Dive 248 Dragons&Sharks

Dear Critters,

My name is PT and I am a Diveaholic. It has been 24 days since my last dive in the warm waters of the Philippines. This morning I finally had the long-awaited chance to re-enter the cold but very familiar waters of Melbourne, Australia. Most weekends when conditions permit, my buddies and I dive one of five piers – Blairgowrie, Rye, Mornington, Portsea or Flinders. When rumour circulated that a 4ft draughtboard shark had been spotted yesterday at Flinders, the decision was a very easy one. While sharks are rarely seen at our local dive sites, I absolutely adore them.

Whenever I approach any critter underwater, I usually ask it if it is ready for its closeup. Weedy sea dragons are endemic to Flinders and, despite divers coming from all over the world to photograph them, many are camera shy. Some are a little more curious and are quite happy to let you take a few photos. But within seconds I knew that the dragon suspended in the water column before me was different. Instead of asking if it was ready for its closeup, I asked if it would like to dance, and we danced forever until my best buddy LP signalled that he knew exactly where to find the elusive draughtboard shark.

photo

When you are a marine animal, anything that shows interest in you is usually a predator, so when something larger than yourself approaches, you are probably going to swim away as fast as your fins can carry you. It takes a lot of love and time to convince a critter that you pose no threat, and if you are patient enough to help it understand this fact, it may begin to see you as an ally.

At first, the small shark wondered if I could truly see its mottled form camouflaged in the thick bed of weeds. And though it seemed ready for its close up, alas it was not ready to dance and, not quite knowing whether I was truly friend or foe, it followed instinct and swam away. Moments later, a large piece of fish flesh on the end of a shiny hook fell close to the spot where the shark had been resting, and I was grateful that it had not stayed near to take the deadly bait. Sadly, its instincts were almost correct – humans are indeed the world’s most deadly predators.

This is the world that I choose to inhabit in my wandering thoughts awake and in the stirring dreams of sleep. It is filled with dancing dragons and gentle sharks that are sweeter than candy, kept eternally safe from human harm. Sometimes we do little more than glance, and sometimes we forget the world and dance. I hope you enjoy this video!

Love and bubbles,

PT xxx

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